How to make my garden safe for pets and children
A garden is a place for family fun, and pets and children alike have a joy for exploration and discovery. But, sometimes this natural curiosity can lead them into trouble which is why it’s vital to safeguard your garden and outdoor spaces.
In this article, we’ll take you through some handy tips for creating pet-friendly gardens and child-friendly gardens.
8 Tips to Make Your Garden Safe for Children & Pets
Lock away tools and chemicals
Keep any harmful tools or chemicals away from prying hands or paws by safely locking them in the shed when not in use. Don’t leave any of these potentially dangerous items unattended or lying around mid-job – it only takes a few seconds for an animal or child to get injured by an abandoned rake or saw.
Rule out poisonous plants
Curiosity killed the cat – a harsh, but possibly true saying if you don’t research the plants you’re using for landscaping. The reality is, many common garden plants are toxic to pets, such as buttercups, daffodils and foxglove. Animals have a natural curiosity for the world and are testing out all of their senses, including taste, so do your research and select options that are safe for ingestion. There are many beautiful and inspirational pet-safe plants available for budding gardeners, such as old favourites like rose, lavender and sunflower. Likewise, don’t opt for prickly or thorny plants if you have a child.
Regular maintenance is your best friend when it comes to deterring pests. Ensure that rotting fruit and leaves are picked up, and remove any ants or wasps nests to ensure these insects don’t target your children or pets. However, pesticides and chemicals should be used as last resorts – instead, opt for natural or physical methods first.
Make ponds safe
Water features add a touch of tranquillity to any garden, and there’s no reason pet owners or parents can’t enjoy them too – just ensure you take the right precautions. Construct a fence or railing around the perimeter, and ensure it’s well-lit for the summer evenings. You may wish to construct an elevated pond, and this would put a creative spin on your garden design, as well as being safer for your children. You may wish to also purchase a pond cover or netting. And remember, never leave young children unattended around water, no matter how shallow.
Beware of heavy objects
Free-standing bird tables, statues or any other heavy objects pose a safety risk if knocked over. Make sure they are secured into the ground, or ensure their fall range is fenced off. This way, your pets and children can run free in the garden without worry.
Create a special play area
You may wish to dedicate a section of the garden to your children, which is a way of keeping them preoccupied in a designated safe space. You could set up a sandpit, or a fenced-off green area filled with their favourite toys, or erect a swing and slide set. However you design it, ensure the playing surfaces are soft and the location not too far-flung, as you will still want to keep an eye on young children.
Repair the lawn
If you’re not particularly green-fingered, you may see your lawn deteriorating over time. Holes may form and weeds might grow – children can trip over uneven surfaces, and prickly or poisonous weeds and plants may grow if not maintained. Either get a regular weeding schedule in place, or revitalise your lawn with new soil and turf to give it a new lease of life.
Restore your fences
If your fences are looking worse for wear, it’s time for an upgrade, especially if you have young children or animals. Even the most high-quality fence can wear over time, and if you have any missing panels or gaps, ensure you get them fixed so that nobody goes wandering into other gardens, or onto dangerous roads. It’s also wise to place locks on all gates, and always at a height that’s beyond the reach of children.
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